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Hello, this marks my second post after the first obligatory introduction post. A bit of history before I go into the problem:

I've just started out on the instrument and can't even read sheet music very quickly yet, but I'm a firm believer in research, and as such have done a lot of it before making a purchase.

I eventually obtained a very well preserved 14M Shooting Star (K serial, non mexiconn) that was originally a teaching aid - the seller had sent it for a once-over and repad/clean before selling it to me at a very reasonable price. This all works out very well for me - with one slight problem.

Although the horn itself saw very little use as a teaching aid (Turns out the teacher in question did not have many alto sax students) and hence has aged sufficiently well with around 95% of its lacquer intact, the same cannot be said for the conn case that came with it.

Long story short, the case does not close right, and appears to have been infested by some sort of regenerative (I'm serious) mold, and now the smell has gotten into my horn as well, which survived the shipping journey to my current country of residence in said case.

As I am obsessed with keeping my belongings clean, I set out with detergent, alcohol, essence oils and even WD-40 upon receiving the case in the mail (Thankfully the horn itself was already cleaned), but that did little to remove the moldy smell from the case. It did, however, remove 42 years of grime from the battered case.

Sunning it for a few days has apparently done nothing - the smell persists, and the mold keeps coming back even though I wipe it away with a regular fervency. What's worse is the fact that the smell has permeated the horn as well, and now the horn emits a similar smell, much to my dismay. I have since stopped storing the horn in the conn case - it now stands on a foldable stand before the dehumidifier unit in my room.

It's not everyday that my neighbours get to see a saxophone, its case, and all its accessories (minus reeds) sitting in the sun, and as much as possible I'd like to avoid doing this too often. Purchasing a proper mouthpiece and assorted knick-knacks, however, has left me broke, and as for the moment I have yet to find a replacement case - Hiscox has no vendors here (Although some may question the wisdom of buying a Hiscox for a Shooting Star), but I digress.

I've tried almost everything - and have no idea why it still persists, and while carrying the sax to class in a tote bag was interesting at first, it quickly gets very tiresome. It would be great if anyone has any recommendations as to how the smell from my horn (and hopefully the case) may be removed.

Thank you for your time.
 

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Ok, ditch the case!.............. There is very little hope to keep it since it is now full of mould and it will smell to a certain degree forever. Sun, deodorants, cleaners help some but not completely.


There are many threads about this, but i have found that there is nothing much or anything that really (really!) gets the case in good order if it really reeks, you can make it bearable ...... if it is not too bad.


The thing that worked best to me is carpet cleaner foam but it is not a guarantee!

Anyway, your horn, and especially the pads are likely to be " infected" too! Try to wash the inside of the bell by passing , several times, a very wet swab wetted with water and lemon essential oil (be generous!) do this as much as needed ,you will need several passages, in the drying times in between attempts, put also a few drops of lemon oil in the bow of the saxophone. Repeat ad libitum!
 

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I have tried for years and years to find a product that would remove that "old case smell" from cases that vintage saxes came in to no avail. The best product I have found is Doctor's Case Odor Eliminator but even that does not remove the smell completely in the worst case scenarios (pun intended).

Sadly to say, the best advice I have found to deal with this problem is to take the case outdoors, thoroughly soak the inside of the case lining with lighter fluid, toss in a lighted match, and then go buy a new case. :twisted:

Sorry to have to give you the bad news. :cry:
 

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get a ozone generator cleaner put it in a closet turn it all the way up for a day that should do it !
Doug
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Thanks for the comments/advice. It seems like I have to get rid of the case after all - It is quite disheartening to part a "Vintage" horn with its case however, although some may question how vintage a Shooting Star can get.

With regards to torching the case… We have strict garbage disposal laws here, so I suppose I can't do that. If Hiscox had retailers in my region though, I would disregard said laws, but yes, there aren't any here. Pity.

I have seen some of the threads with regards to old cases, but I believe the smell originates from within the case... and it seems to be outside of my ability to do remove the padding and get to the source of the problem at the moment. One of my pads has for some reason turned… Black, so I suppose that is not a very good sign.

Will the lemon oil not damage the metal of the horn, actually? I've mostly just smoked essence oil around the horn, not directly into it per se. I'm wondering how I would get the lemon oil on the pads at the moment as I have no "Pad-saver" or a sufficiently furry object that would act as such. Would alcoholic swabs, 70% isopropyl alcohol damage the lacquer/leather of the pads?

Real pity too, as the pads have just been re-padded recently.

It's also rather disturbing as to how many spores (or assorted mycelium) I have inhaled thus far...
 

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It's also rather disturbing as to how many spores (or assorted mycelium) I have inhaled thus far...
I wouldn't worry too much about it. The smell of old cases for horns I've owned over the years only gave me an affinity for scotch...
 

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I wouldn't worry too much about it. The smell of old cases for horns I've owned over the years only gave me an affinity for scotch...
At least I won't suddenly explode into a mushroom cluster, I hope. Although I can hold my alcohol I do not drink - but the affinity for scotch does adds a whole new meaning to fermentation, though. Sadly mushroom/fungi based tea does not exist...

I've been told (and read about) how vintage horns often have amazing histories - mine had a rather plain one by comparison, although it's good to know where it's been and who it's from.

If it were not for the attractive price range and relatively amazing condition of the horn I wouldn't have bought it. The case, on the other hand...
 

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get a ozone generator cleaner put it in a closet turn it all the way up for a day that should do it !
Doug
Have you actually tried this yourself to know it works? I would love to find a solution to this vexing problem since vintage cases in otherwise good condition shouldn't have to be trashed if it is not necessary.
 

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I have used lemon oil inside many horns , new, semi-new, second hand and vintage. I have yet to see a hole in the brass! I would not try to soak the pads with Alcohol of any type.

You can get the lemon oil on the pads but I wouldn't do that too.

Just repeated passages of a drenched swab, with a few drops of lemon oil in the water, inside the horn should do the trick, if the mould is in the felt of the pad, I am afraid that the horn has to be re-padded to get rid of the smell.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
I will proceed with the lemon swab method. Will any grade of essential oil do? I use 100% concentrates so it's quite costly... If any kind of oil would do I'd rather use a lower concentration/grade. I will put some drips in the bow regardless - Hopefully that helps to alleviate the problem. Then comes the issue of how one would transport a sax with no case... Well, I'll figure something out.

Thanks for the help.
 

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I use 100% concentrated oil for aromatherapy and works fine while it is not terribly expensive (we also use it in our washing machine to perfume our washing because we use washing methods with very little powder and a special wash-ball to wash our clothes). Buy a case, and always take your sax out when you don't use it. The problem is the climate in Singapore, too humid and warm. Swab dry your saxophone every time you use it and do use a good quality padsaver. Put some silca gel in your NEW case.
 

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Ozone cleaning companies here set up big ozone generators to kill mold in houses and industry yes it works We had a flood in our house and we set up two generators up in the house for two days . We left the house cause you couldn't stay in it the smell of ozone was harsh.
Doug
 

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If you don't mind spending the money take it to a place the does upholstery like a furniture refinisher and have them tear all material and padding out of it and replace it. You could probably do this yourself as well though I'm not sure it's worth the time or money if your end goal is to become a better sax player.
 

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100% concentrate is quite expensive in my case - I have no idea why, usually only floral oils cost this much.

Maybe It's a regional thing…

The climate here is horrid, yes. I'm not even FROM this place, seriously - My artbooks suffer severely as well, although a book storage cabinet specifically built to counter humidity has saved me from having my entire collection become a display in sine curves.

Unfortunately I don't have a Sax storage cupboard - although it's beginning to sound like a good idea.

I was looking at getting a hiscox but I'm afraid that'll have to wait. I'll probably transport it with one of my shawls wrapped around it for protection - should do the trick temporarily since I'm usually very careful with my items anyway.

With regards to the ozone thing I've never actually seen/heard of such a generator here before - seems a little bit overkill for the issue at hand, although having the case fix itself is always a good thing. I think I'll simply store the case in the basement or something along those lines, then get a new case… Eventually.

Thank you for the helpful comments.
 

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its highly toxic you leave the house turn it off and it disappears Ozone is produced naturally in nature thunderstorms etc

Doug
 

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Just get a basic Protec to keep the horn safe and toss the old case. I only save the cases for horns that have potential value for collectors. But even with those horns, I keep them in more modern alternatives that actually provide better protection than the cases of old (where horns and/or equipment tend to shift around somewhat).
 

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If you don't mind spending the money take it to a place the does upholstery like a furniture refinisher and have them tear all material and padding out of it and replace it. You could probably do this yourself as well though I'm not sure it's worth the time or money if your end goal is to become a better sax player.
FYI I have done that with a couple of old cases only to find the odor embedded in the wood.
 

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its highly toxic you leave the house turn it off and it disappears Ozone is produced naturally in nature thunderstorms etc

Doug
yes I know that, I commented that it was toxic because you said that you went away because of the acrid smell..........there was more to it that just smell..........by the way studio strobes produce ozone too.....
 
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